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Thursday, 27 June 1996
Page: 2339


Senator KEMP (Manager of Government Business in the Senate)(10.22 a.m.) —I table the government's response to the President's report of 30 November 1995 on outstanding government responses to parliamentary committee reports. I seek leave to have the document incorporated in Hansard and to move a motion in relation to the response.

Leave granted.

The document read as follows

AIRCRAFT NOISE IN SYDNEY (Senate Select)

Falling on deaf ears?

The government response is expected to be tabled in the 1996 Spring Sittings.

BROADCASTING OF PARLIAMENTARY PROCEEDINGS (Joint Statutory)

Radio and television broadcasting of Parliamentary proceedings

The government response is expected to be tabled shortly.

CERTAIN FAMILY LAW ISSUES (Joint Select)

Child support scheme—operation and effectiveness of the scheme

On 29 March 1995, an interim response was tabled.

This response dealt with the 53 recommendations in the Committee's report that related to the administration of the Child Support Scheme.

These recommendations had no budgetary, legislative or policy implications.

As part of the 1995/96 budget, changes were announced that addressed another 8 of the Committee's recommendations.

The Government is currently examining the outstanding recommendations from the Committee's report. Most of these recommendations have significant budgetary or policy implications. Some recommendations will be addressed in the context of the 1996/97 budget. The Government will table a final response to all outstanding recommendations in 1997.

Funding and administration of the Family Court of Australia

The government response is expected to be completed and tabled shortly.

CERTAIN LAND FUND MATTERS (Senate Select)

Report

The government response is expected to be tabled shortly.

COMMUNITY AFFAIRS REFERENCES

Psychotherapeutic medication in Australia

The Government is currently finalising its response and it will be tabled at the earliest possible date.

The tobacco industry and the costs of tobacco related illness

The government response has been delayed due to the need for the response to reflect the policy views of the new Federal Government. The response will be tabled at the earliest possible date.

COMMUNITY STANDARDS RELEVANT TO THE SUPPLY OF SERVICES UTILISING ELECTRONIC TECHNOLOGIES (Senate Select)

Overseas sourced audiotex services, video and computer games, R-rated material on pay TV

The Government is finalising its position on these matters and will respond as soon as possible.

R-rated material on pay TV—Part 1

Many of the matters raised by the Committee are now also being considered by the Committee of Ministers on the Portrayal of Violence. A response is being deferred pending the outcome of this Committee's investigations.

Status report on R-rated material on pay TV, regulation of bulletin board systems, codes of practice in the television industry

The only outstanding matter concerning this report relates to Paragraph 47 and concerns the application of the Legislative Instruments Bill to Australian Broadcasting Authority standards and television industry codes of practice. Legal advice has been sought on this matter and it is expected to be finalised shortly.

Regulation of computer on-line services—Part 2

The Government is finalising its position on these matters and will respond as soon as possible.

Operations of codes of practice in the television industry—Part 1

Many of the matters raised by the Committee are now also being considered by the Committee of Ministers on the Portrayal of Violence. A response is being deferred pending the outcome of this Committee's investigations.

CORPORATIONS AND SECURITIES (Joint Statutory)

Report on the annual reports of the Australian Securities Commission and other bodies 1993-1994

The Government is finalising its response and it will be tabled at the earliest possible date.

Report on derivatives

The Government is finalising its response and it will be tabled at the earliest possible date.

Section 1316 of the Corporations Law

A response is currently under consideration by the Government.

ECONOMICS REFERENCES

CSIRO—the case for revitalisation—administration and funding of rural research

The government response is expected to be tabled shortly.

A question of balance—The tax treatment of small business

A possible response is still under consideration by the Government.

Connecting you now—Telecommunications towards the year 2000

The Government is finalising its position on these matters and will respond as soon as possible.

Eastlink—The interconnection of NSW and Queensland electricity grids with a high voltage powerline

The government response to the Senate Economics References Committee inquiry into Eastlink is currently being finalised. It is anticipated that the final Commonwealth response will be tabled by the end of June 1996, or the earliest possible time thereafter.

ELECTORAL MATTERS (Joint Standing)

Electoral Redistributions—Report:

Report on the effectiveness and appropriateness of the redistribution provisions of part III and IV of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918

The government response is currently under preparation and will be tabled as soon as possible.

EMPLOYMENT, EDUCATION AND TRAINING REFERENCES

Inquiry into Austudy

The government response is expected to be tabled after the budget.

Inquiry into long term unemployment

The government response will be tabled as soon as possible.

Inquiry into the sale of Bond University

The government response is expected to be tabled shortly.

Inquiry into the Australian National Training Authority

The government response is expected to be tabled shortly.

ENVIRONMENT, RECREATION, COMMUNICATIONS AND THE ARTS LEGISLATION

Review of annual reports: 1993-94 annual reports tabled in the Senate November 1994 to June 1995

The Government is considering the recommendation outlined in paragraphs 3.7 and 3.8 of the report. It is expected that the final Government response will be tabled in the 1996 Spring Sittings.

ENVIRONMENT, RECREATION, COMMUNICATIONS AND THE ARTS REFERENCES

Soccer—First report

Soccer—Second report

The Minister for Sport, Territories and Local Government is currently considering the government response to the two reports on the administration of soccer in Australia. It is expected that the government response will be tabled during the 1996 Spring Sittings of Parliament.

Arts education

The government response is expected to be tabled shortly.

FINANCE AND PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION LEGISLATION

Annual reports tabled January 1995—June 1995

The government response is expected to be tabled shortly.

FINANCE AND PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION REFERENCES

Property management in the Australian Public Service

The Government expects to table its response in the 1996 Spring Sittings following a full review of property arrangements in DAS.

Proposed Sale of ANL Ltd

A response to the Committee's report is currently being considered.

Service delivery by the Australian Public Service

The delay in providing this report for tabling is to allow the Department of Finance time to adequately consult with departments affected by the recommendations of the report. The Government is currently considering a response to the Committee's report and it will be tabled at the earliest possible time.

FOREIGN AFFAIRS, DEFENCE AND TRADE (Joint Standing)

Visit to Thailand and Laos

No response required.

Exercise Kangaroo 95

The government response was tabled in the Senate on 20 June 1996.

Officer education:

The military after next

The government response was tabled in the Senate on 17 June 1996.

Human rights and progress towards democracy in Burma

The Government is finalising a response to the report and will be tabled at the earliest possible date.

Australia's relations with Thailand

The Government is finalising a response to the report and this will be tabled at the earliest possible date.

Bosnia:

Australia's response

The Government is finalising a response to the report and this will be tabled at the earliest possible date.

LEGAL AND CONSTITUTIONAL AFFAIRS (Senate Standing)

Off the record—shield laws for journalists' confidential sources

In considering the first report of the Senate Legal and Constitutional References Committee (then Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs) in its Inquiry into the Rights and Obligations of the Media, entitled Off the Record: Shield Laws for Journalists' Confidential Sources , it has become clear to the Government that the report raises issues concerning other aspects of the Committee's terms of reference apart from journalists' privilege. A comprehensive Government response should await completion by the Committee of its Inquiry, at least in respect of those other terms of references.

This will enable a properly balanced response to be made by the Government.

LEGAL AND CONSTITUTIONAL LEGISLATION

Crimes Amendment (Controlled Operations) Bill 1995

Administrative Decisions (Effect of International Instruments) Bill 1995

Bankruptcy Legislation Amendment Bill 1995

Crimes Amendment (Forensic Procedures) Bill 1995

A government response to the above Legal and Constitutional Legislation Committee reports is no longer required as the Bills lapsed upon prorogation of the previous Parliament.

LEGAL AND CONSTITUTIONAL REFERENCES

Payment of a minister's legal costs—Terms of reference, paragraphs (a) to (e) and (h)

The Coalition consistently voiced its opposition to the previous Government's proposed use of Commonwealth funds to pay Dr Lawrence's legal costs in relation to the Marks Royal Commission. Ultimately, the former Government accepted limitations to its proposal. Those limitations are reflected in Appropriation Act (No. 4) 1995-96 (Division 807.02 and section 4) which contains a single line appropriation as recommended by the Senate Committee.

In the circumstances, no further response is required by the present Government.

Trick or Treaty?

Commonwealth power to make and implement treaties

The government response was tabled in the Senate on 2 May 1996.

MIGRATION (Joint Standing)

Australia's visa system for visitors

The government response is expected to be tabled shortly.

NATIONAL CAPITAL AND EXTERNAL TERRITORIES (Joint Standing)

Draft Amendment No. 14 (Broadacre Areas) to the National Capital Plan

While the Committee recommended that the amendment not be agreed to in its original form, it recommended that the amendment proceed subject to certain modifications.

A dissenting report by five Committee members formed part of the report. The dissenting members recommended that the amendment as originally proposed not be approved and that it not be approved in the modified form recommended by the Committee in whole. The dissenting members made other recommendations for action by the ACT Government.

The National Capital Planning Authority has sought advice from the ACT Government to assist in establishing the Commonwealth position on the matter with particular regard to the dissenting report. The ACT Government has not yet advised its position. The government response will be finalised for tabling following consideration of the ACT Government's advice when this is received.

NATIONAL CRIME AUTHORITY (Joint, Statutory)

Organised criminal paedophile activity

The Government is conscious of the importance and topicality of this issue and will be responding to the recommendations contained in the report in the near future. Further, it has already referred some of the recommendations to the Australasian Police Ministers' Council as suggested by the report. However, a formal response to the report has been deferred pending the finalisation of a strategic assessment of paedophile activity by the National Crime Authority.

PARLIAMENTARY ZONE (Joint Statutory)

Future of the old Parliament House

Recommendation 1

Response : The Government does not intend to adopt this recommendation.

Recommendation 2

Response: Agreed.

Recommendation 3

Response: As the Joint Standing Committee has not been re-established, this recommendation has been overtaken by events.

PUBLIC ACCOUNTS (Joint Statutory)

JCPA Reports

As a matter of general practice this explanatory schedule does not include reports from the Joint Committee of Public Accounts. Reports that address administrative matters are usually responded to in the form of Finance Minutes. These are normally provided to the Committee within six months of the tabling of the report and are then tabled by the Committee. Where the Committee has made policy recommendations, the Government normally provides a response.

Managing people in the Australian Public Service: dilemmas of devolution and diversity

The recommendations of the report have largely been implemented or overtaken by recent initiatives, in particular, the announcement on 21 June 1996 by the Minister for Industrial Relations, the Hon Peter Reith, of a consultation process to develop a reform package for the Australian Public Service. The Government does not intend to provide any further response to the report.

Financial reporting of the Commonwealth:

Towards greater transparency and accountability

The Government is currently considering its response to the fiscal responsibility legislation recommendations of Report 341 in the context of work on implementation of the Government's Charter of Budget Honesty.

RURAL AND REGIONAL AFFAIRS AND TRANSPORT REFERENCES

Impact of assets tests on farming families access to Social Security and AUSTUDY:

Second report—Social Security assets tests

The Government response is under consideration and is expected to be tabled shortly.

SUPERANNUATION (Senate Select)

Super guarantee—its track record

Super and broken work patterns

The Government is finalising a response to the complex policy issues raised by these two reports, which will be tabled at the earliest possible date.


Senator KEMP —I move:

That the Senate take note of the document.

Question resolved in the affirmative.